Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Oceania Greatest All-time 23 member

New Zealand World Cup 2010
Please also see my All-Time Team Index.
New Zealand All-Time Team

Football is not a major sport in any of the countries in Oceania.  The confederation does not have their own slot at the World Cup Finals.  They normally play a playoff against another team from the confederation.  Thus, only four World Cup Finals has a representative from the region.  Up until 2006, Australia was a part of Oceania.  They went to the World Cup in 1974 and 2006 while New Zealand qualified for 1982 and 2010.  They came home undefeated with three draws in the Group Stage in 2010.  Tahiti went to the Confederation Cup in Brazil as the biggest outsiders in any international tournament in history.

This is my All-team 23 member team for the rest of Oceania.  I have excluded Australia from this team. 

Due to the lack of great footballers from the Polynesian countries.  I have included "guest Plolynesian players" who were capped by non-Oceania national team.  Christian Karembeu and Pascal Vahirua actually won Ocean Player of the Year awards while being capped by France.

Tahiti 2013
GK: Frank Van Hattum (New Zealand)
Frank Van Hattum was capped 28 times for New Zealand.  His international career started in 1980, and he played a total of 41 times for his country including unofficial matches. He started all of the All Whites' games at the World Cup Finals in 1982, despite not playing at the World Cup Qualifiers. He was voted as the second best keeper in Oceania's history(the list including Australian keepers).

GK: Kevin Curtin (New Zealand)
Kevin Curtin was capped 18 times for the All Whites in 1970's. He was voted as 5th greatest keepers in Oceania history. For club football, he played for Courier Rangers AFC and Mount Wellington in New Zeland.

GK: Richard Wilson (New Zealand)
Despite being the only goalkeeper used during the 1982 World Cup qualifying campaign, he was replaced as starting goalkeeper for the finals tournament in Spain by Frank van Hattum. For a considerable time, Wilson held the record for most minutes without conceding a goal by a goalkeeper in any  World Cup qualifying or finals tournament.  He played his club football in New Zealand and Australia with a short stint with Lincoln FC in England.

RB: Winston Reid (New Zealand)
Born in New Zealand, but moved to Denmark at age of 10 with Danish stepfather.  Both Reid's biological parents have Māori ancestry.  He was capped by Denmark at the youth level.  He started with FC Midtjylland. He joined West Ham in 2010. Since 2010, he plays for New Zealand internationally. He is the current captain of All-Whites.

CB: Antoine Kombouaré (New Caledonia)
Antoine Kombouaré started his career at FC Nantes and moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 1990.  With PSG, he was famous for scoring late-minute winning goals which earned him the name of "Casque d'Or", which means "Golden Helmet" in French.  He later played for Sion and Aberdeen in Scotland. 
CB/DM: Ryan Nelsen (New Zealand)
Ryan Nelsen spent his early career playing NCAA soccer in the United States.  Professionally, he played for DC United in MLS, and Blackburn Rovers, Tottenham Hotspurs and Queens Park Rangers in England.   From 1999 to 2013, he played 49 times for New Zealand. He was the All-Whites captain at the World Cup Finals in 2010, which was New Zealand's first appearance at the Finals since 1982.  New Zealand earned 1-1 draw against reigning World Cup Holder Italy.
Ryan Nelsen
CB: Chris Zoricich (New Zealand) 
Chris Zoricich had a spells with Leyton Orient in England between 1990 and 1993, but spent most of his career playing in Australia. At one point, he was signed by Chelsea.  He was capped 57 times by the All-Whites between 1988 and 2003, including captaining them at the 1999 Confederations Cup in Mexico and the 2003 Confederations Cup in France.

CB: Ricki Herbert (New Zealand)
Ricki Herbert was a key player for the World Cup Qualifiers as New Zealand qualified for Spain 1982, but he missed the first match vs Scotland in the Finals.  He had 67 caps for the All-Whites. For his club career, he spent his career with Mt Wellington and Sydney United.  He also spent two seasons with Wolverhampton Wanderers in England.

CB: Ivan Vicelich (New Zealand)
Ivan Vicelich is the all-time cap record-holder for All-Whites with 96 caps.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 2010.  For his domestic career, he had played for Football Kingz when they were playing in the Australian league.  He also played for Roda in Holland and Shenzhen Ruby in China.   With Auckland City FC, he played in the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup at UAE.

LB/SW: Adrian Elrick (New Zealand)
Born in Scotland, his family moved to New Zealand.  Between 1975 and 1984, he played 53 times for New Zealand and went to the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain.  He played in all three matches in the Finals. For his club career, he played his entire career with North Shore United in New Zealand between 1968 and 1984.

CM: Steve Sumner (New Zealand) 
Steve Sumner played for Blackpool in England before moving to New Zealand. Sumner began his football as an apprentice at Blackpool before moving to New Zealand in 1973 to play for Christchurch United, winning the National League in his first year.  He played for various clubs in New Zealand.  Sumner was capped 58 by New Zealand. He was the captain of All-Whites at the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain.
Steve Summer
CM: Kenneth Armstrong (New Zealand)
Kenneth Armstrong played for Chelsea in England from 1946 to 1957.  He played in over 400 games (including a then-club record 362 league games) for the West London club and scored 30 goals. In 1954, he was one of the standby players for England at the WC Finals in 1954.  He did not travelled to Switzerland.  He was capped once by England in 1955.  He moved to New Zealand in 1957.  He was later capped by New Zealand 9 times from 1958 to 1962.

DM: Simon Elliott (New Zealand)
Simon Elliott started his career in the United States playing college soccer with Stanford University.  Professionally, he played for LA Galaxy, where he won the MLS Cup in 2002 and other clubs in the United States.  He also played for Fulham in England and Wellington Pheonix in New Zealand.  He payed 69 times for New Zealand. In 2008, he was one of New Zealand's overage players at the Beijing Olympics.  He also went to the World Cup Finals in 2010.
Simon Elliott
DM: Christian Karembeu (New Caledonia/France)
Born in New Caledonia, Christian Karembeu moved to France as a 17 years old.  He played for Nantes, Sampdoria, Real Madrid, Middlesbrough, Olympiakos, Servette Genève and Bastia. With Real Madrid, he won two UEFA Champions League in 1998 and 2000.  He had 53 caps for France during the Golden Generation in the 1990's.  He won the World Cup with France in 1998, and the European Chamopionship, two years later.  He was Oceania Player of the Year in 1995 and 1998.
Christian Karembeu
LW: Pascal Vahirua (Tahiti/France)
Pascal Vahirua was born in Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia. He moved to France as a 16 years old after being discovered by French coach Guy Roux.  In France, he spent most of his career with AJ Auxerre.  He also played for Coen. He was capped 22 times for France between 1991 and 1994.   He was the first Polynesian ever to play for France. He was a member of the Frech team at the European Championship in 1992.

LW/SS: Marama Vahirua (Tahiti)
Marama Vahirua was born in Tahiti, but grew up in France. He was capped by France at the youth level.  He played for Nantes, but also joined Nice, Lorient, Nancy, AS Monaco and Panthrakikos F.C. in Greece before returning to Tahiti.  He was called up for 2013 Confederation Cup and earned his first cap foe Tahiti there. He was the only full time player in a squad of semi-professional players. His cousin is Pascal Vahirua.
Marama Vahirua
AM/ST: Brian Turner (New Zealand)
Born in England, Brian Turner moved to New Zealand as a child. He started his career in New Zealand, but returned to England in 1968, where he played for Chelsea, Portsmouth and Brentford. Turner was an integral member of the New Zealand side that qualified for the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain, but he only played one match in the Finals.

FW: Patrick Appriou (Tahiti)
Patrick Appriou played for AS Dragon in Tahit, but also had a brief career in France. He played Olympique de Marseille between 1987 and 1988.  In 1996, he helped Tahit to reach the Final of Oceania Cup before losing to Australia. Tahit finished second at the tournament.

FW: Marc Kanyan Case (New Caledonia/France)
In France, Marc-Kanyan plays for Gazélec Ajaccio, Sporting Club Bastia and Nîmes Olympique during the 1960's and 1970's. In total, he played 216 games in Division 1 and scored 72 goals in this championship.  He represented France Amateurs in the Mediterranean Games in 1967. He was also capped by New Caledonia.

ST: Shane Smeltz (New Zealand)
Born in Germany of New Zealand parents, Shane Smeltz moved to Australia as a kid.  He played for clubs in Australia before moving to play in England.  He spent time at various clubs in the lower division and returned to play for Wellington Phoenix in 2007 and moved onward to other Australian club.  He was the Oceania Footballer of the Year: 2007, 2008.  Between 2003 and 2017, he played for the New Zeland national team. He went to the World Cup Finals in 2010.
Shane Smeltz 
ST: Jacques Zimako (New Caledonia/France)
Born in New Caledonia, Jacques Zimako played for SC Bastia, AS Saint-Étienne and FC Sochaux-Montbéliard in France. With Saint-Étienne, he was the league champion in 1981, where the team also featured Michel Platini, Gérard Janvion, Johnny Rep and Patrick Battiston.  He was capped 13 times for France, scoring 2 goals between 1977 and 1981. He was the first footballer of Kanak origin to play for France.

ST: Vaughan Coveny (New Zealand)
Coveny is the all-time leading scorer for New Zealand.  Coveny began his NSL career at the Melbourne Knights, then moved to Wollongong City, but the majority of his career was spent at South Melbourne in the NSL, and later on, Victorian Premier League. He also spent some time in the A-League, playing for the Newcastle Jets and Wellington Phoenix. He scored over a 100 goals for South Melbourne FC.
ST: Wynton Rufer (New Zealand)
Wynton Rufer is considered to be New Zealand's greatest player and he is the only footballer enshrined at the New Zealand Sport Hall of Flame.  He was also named the Oceania Footballer of the Century. He was best remembered for his 6 seasons with Werder Bremen.  He won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1991-1992.  He also played in Switzerland and Japan.  He was the youngest member of the World Cup team in 1982, where he played in all three matches.
Wynton Rufer

Honorable Mention
Steve Wooddin (New Zealand), Michael McGarry (New Zealand), Mark Paston (New Zealand), Richard Wilson (New Zealand), Bill Hume (New Zealand), Duncan Cole (New Zealand), Chris Jackson (New Zealand), Erroll Bennett (Tahiti), Claude Carrara (Tahiti), Henry Fa'arodo (Solomon Island),  Esala Masi (Fiji), Bertrand Kaï (New Calendonia), Roy Krishna (Fiji), Tim Filiga Cahill (Australia),

Squad Explanation
-- In July, 2020, I created New Zealand All-Time Team, but I am still keeping this team.
-- All of the Polynesians selected played club football in France's La Ligue at one point or another. I am sure that I am missing many players from that region playing there.  Basically, I ran down lists after lists of Polynesian players.
-- Due to the lack of great footballers from the Polynesian countries,  I have included "guest Plolynesian players" who were capped by non-Oceania national team.  Christian Karembeu and Pascal Vahirua actually won Ocean Player of the Year awards while being capped by France.  They were recognised for being players in Oceania.
-- Christian Karembeu won a World Cup and as European Championship with France.  On the club level, he won two Champions' League with Real Madrid.  He is the most decorated player born in the region. He was the Oceania Footballer of the Year in 1995 and 1998.
-- Pascal Vahirua was the first Polynesian ever to play for France.  He had over 20 caps. I also selected Marc Kanyan Case and Jacques Zimako.  Both were born in New Calendonia and later represented France in football.
-- Marama Vahirua (Tahiti) was selected because of Tahiti's appearance at the Confederation Cup in 2013. He was probably their best player.
-- Antoine Kombouaré was born in New Caledonia.  He never played for France or New Caledonia.  He had a successful career in France, mainly with Nantes and PSG. I am sure that there must be other player like him who played professionally in France.  I do think that my blog team is incomplete.
-- New Zealand qualified for two World Cup Finals.  From the 1982 team, I selected Frank Van Hattum, Ricki Herbert, Steve Sumner, Adrian Elrick and Brian Turner.
-- Frank Van Hattum was voted as the second best keeper in  history (including Australian goalkeepers) by Oceania.  He was followed by Kevin Curtin.  Richard Wilson is sometimes known as New Zealand's greatest goalkeeper.
-- From the 2010 team, I selected Mark Paston, Winston Reid, Ryan Nelsem, Ivan Vicelich, Simon Elliott and Shane Smeltz. 
-- I selected Henry Fa'arodo (Solomon Island) and Esala Masi (Fiji) on honorable mention based upon their nationality.  They are the best footballers from there.
-- Wynton Rufer (New Zealand) is probably the greatest player from New Zealand.  He had a lengthy career playing in Europe.  Christian Karembeu who played for France and Real Madrid is probably most famous player selected.
--  Kenneth Armstrong played for Chelsea.  He was capped by England before heading to New Zealand.  He was allowed to switch national team in the 1950's.  He was also selected for his impact on the game in New Zealand.  Steve Sumner who was the captain of New Zealand in the 1982 World Cup Finals also moved from the UK to New Zealand.  He was their best known player in the 1980's.  Brian Turner who was also on the 1982 team was also born in England, but he grew up in New Zealand.  He tried his luck in England early in his career before playing in New Zealand and Australia.
-- Winston Reid, Simon Elliott and Ryan Nelsen also had successful career in the United States and England.
-- Michael McGarry (New Zealand) was controversially left off the team.


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